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Today, the economics of importing UO2 fuel are down to less than $50-a-year to drive a car 12,000 miles.

Compare this $50 to 600 gallons of gas. At $2/gallon to import (= $85/barrel) and 20 mpg that is $1,200-a-year-at-import. Make it $2,400-a-year at the retail pump for your passenger car.

$50 versus $1,200.

That's the cost differential to America for importing these fuels at port of entry.

Electric plants cost a bit more than refineries, maybe by a skosh, but at worst that's Americans doing the work. The country's not hurt a bit by it -- not with these unemployment percentages.

$3.46 versus $20.

That's cost for driving a Tesla 100 miles on electricity vs.driving a typical gasoline car.

For now the extra power for electric cars will be generated mostly at night. We have years to build out capacity. Uranium is as plentiful as tin. The earth has a billion years of proven reserves, going beyond cheap "yellowcake" deposits.

Kyshtym, Chernobyl, TMI, Fukushima -- there have been major accidents. But clearly the engineering has gotten far better over the decades. Combine uranium fuel and today's electric cars -- this offers decisive advantages over gasoline powered cars. MoreBTF :::

How's about letting the Chinese and the Indians and everybody else put gasoline in their cars ?  

But not us. Not for ever.

We have 104 nuclear plants. We know how to run them. We are able to do this, not that there are not risks to be managed nukes.

Kyshtym in 1957 was as bad as Chernobyl. Russian submarines? Every one of the early ones was a death trap. Three Mile Island showed what a bad instrument package can do to you. But then this Fukushima crisis shows us that a 1980s design, old, near retirement could be hit with a pipe-snapping 50-foot tsunami and not do much worse than leaking some radioactive water.

The engineering got a whole lot better. Much MSM anti-nuke info is propaganda.

-- Fact is, used uranium fuel is easy to store, if you're talking about a 200 to 500 year planning horizon. The aim should be toward planning better solutions later on.

-- We know how to avoid "cost saving" managerial and political interference with the engineering design process.

-- We can standardize plant construction to specify very long "passive cooling" to prevent melt downs in extended emergencies.

-- We don't have to go cheap on construction. We're not Communist Russia. We can standardize basic designs, safety features.

The fuel cost advantage -- the Import Burden advantage --from using nuclear powered electricity to replace petroleum for cars is at least two-dozen-to-one.

The cost calculations take arithmetic. Not calc or diff-e. No partition theory. No Wall Street quant work. Not rocket science:

One basic project, here, is to see what it takes to run electric cars.

-- U.S. electricity production = 4,000 million megawatt-hours

-- Nuclear power = 20% = 800 million megawatt-hours

Consider the arithmetic of going to electric cars:
-- One electric vehicle consumes about 15 kilowatt-hours per day. Times 365 days that multiplies to 5.4 megawatt-hours per year

-- Powering 1,000,000 electric cars sounds great. This adds 5.4 million megawatt-hours/year as a drain on the total power system.

-- Powering 10,000,000 electric cars adds 54 million megawatts-hours/year to the power demand.

-- Powering 100,000,000 electric cars adds 540 million megawatt-hours/year to demand.


(Despite an earlier personal misstep combining cut-and-paste with arithmetic in a benighted comment, doing millions of cars with existing power plants is doable. The night time power gird is not shattered. Recharging at night avoids having to add more power plants for decades.)

A battery powered electric car converts kilowatt-hours from the power grid into mechanical energy at an efficiency of over 80%. A battery powered Tesla car can take one slug of kilowatt-hour electricity -- equivalent to a gallon of gasoline -- and go 96 miles.

Electrics are efficient. Gas engines, not in the same class.

-- 32.91 kilowatt-hours of electrical energy equals the energy  in one gallon of gas.

-- The market cost consumers pay for kilowatt-hours is about $ 0.10 which means you pay $3.29 to drive 96 miles in a one-gallon-equivalent-charged Tesla.

-- Make that 100 miles to ease calculations. The cost goes to $3.46.

-- Average gas car gets ~20 mpg at $4 a gallon = $20 for the same 100 mile Tesla trip.

$3.46 at the wall plug  


$20.00 at the pump

Do the power capacity expansion wholly with nukes and we can start to kiss off Halliburton, the Bush-kissing Saudis, Saudi-kissing Bushes, and move to hit zero on balance of payments in-flow/outflow.

How's that for left/right/center patriotism ?!

Multiply out for a car lifetime at a modest 100,000 miles:

$3,460 at the wall plug


$20,000 at the pump

How's about that ???

The country is better off for import/export finance. Drivers are better off at personal finance.

Of course, batteries add to cost. But the electrics will not need to have new transmissions and exhaust pipes and mufflers. The possibility of a 500,000 mile electric car comes to mind -- a roomy old Mercedes 200 taxi would serve nicely. One could make such a car quite comfortable.


More seriously, risks for nukes are far lower today than 30 years ago.

Modern nukes have designs that extend the "passive cooling" function for fuel rods to deal with power and maintenance interruptions. If you want a 30-day "passive" safety parameter for power-out situations that adds less than 0.1% to the cost of building the power plant  

Of course there's no way to plan for every possibility. A meteor could hit a plant. A plane could crash. Worst that's going to come out of Fukushima is an exclusion area at the NPP in Japan, long term.

We can survive a nasty tsunami hitting one of our coastal nukes. Even if our guys learn nothing from Fukushima, we can survive it.

We cannot even plausibly keep paying out for the gasoline.

We are debtors. We have been damn fools electing the like of George Bush and going along with our Federal Reserve for two massive Big Bubbles (1994-2000, 2003-2008) and a rather long list of practical insanities. What we deserve more than not, collectively, is a debtors' prison.

We have plutocracy-sucking Republicans infesting the House and the Senate. And several similar Democrats.

We are getting our credit downgraded -- our interest payments increased -- soon as these Republican cockroaches drag their bribery-motels down to screw the Debt Limit Extension. Worked for them and their bankers in 1994 -- squeezes more money for the bankster Treasuries-buyers. Follies require payment.

We cannot stay with gasoline. We cannot afford a "global" military. These are follies, gone too far.

We can do the nukes. We can do the electric cars. Sooner better than when we have overwhelmed ourselves with foreign exchange fantasy and debt.

With this kind of money involved, multiplied by the millions and millions of Americans, why not ? Fear, by itself... no.

What else ?


Fuel your car at $50-a-year import cost is the up side of nuclear power

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Comment Preferences

  •  $3,460 vs. $20,000. Surprises me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notrouble, corvaire

    The import-point cost differential is even higher. Fuel cost with nukes is a lower part of the total cost at retail than for oil and gasoline.

    The situation at Fukushima, today, does not threaten the Japanese with deadly aerial radiation. SPEEDI readings show these measurements as the highest outside the NPP area, where the several tsunamis destroyed the monitors:

    -- 318 nanoGrays/hour - 03:10 AM local time on the 20th

    -- 320 nGy/h -- 09:30 PM local time on the 19th

    -- 343 nGy/h -- 06:50 AM local time on the 18th

    -- 346 nGy/h -- 04:50 AM local time on the 17th

    -- 350 nGy/h-- 09:30 PM local time on the 16th

    -- 356 nGy/h -- 04:50 AM local time on the 15th

    -- 360 nGy/h -- 09:00 PM local time on the 14th

    -- 362 nGy/h -- 10:40 PM local time on the 13th

    -- 366 nGy/h - 11:10 PM local time on the 12th

    -- 379 nGy/h - 09:40 PM local time on the 11th

    -- 389 nGy/h - 07:30 AM local time on the 10th

    -- 404 nGy/h - 10:00 AM local time on the 9th

    -- 423 nGy/h - 09:00 AM local time on the 8th

    -- 437 nGy/h - 10:30 AM local time on the 7th

    -- 441 nGy/h - 10:30 PM local time on the 6th

    -- 464 nGy/h - 10:00 PM local time on the 5th

    -- 463 nGy/h - 9:00 PM local time on the 4th

    -- 480 nGy/h - 9:00 PM local time on the 3rd

    -- 499 nGy/h - 9:40 PM local time on the 2nd

    -- 536 nGy/h - 5:10 AM local time on the 1st of April

    -- 556 nGy/h - 9:40 AM local time on the 31st

    -- 575 nGy/h - 11:00 PM local time on the 30th

    -- 597 nGy/h - 4:40 AM local time on the 29th

    -- 646 nGy/h - 6:50 PM local time on the 28th

    -- 684 nGy/h - 10:20 PM local time on the 27th

    -- 786 nGy/h - 11.00 PM local time on the 25th

    -- 866 nGy/h - 8:20 PM local time on the 24th

    -- 957 nGy/h - 7:30 PM local time on the 23rd

    -- 1012 nGy/h - 1:10 AM local time on the 23rd

    -- 1221 nGy/h - 7:20 PM local time on the 22nd

    -- 1178 nGy/h - 9:20 PM local time on the 21st

    -- 1145 nGy/h - 6:10 PM local time on the 21st

    -- 1160 nGy/h - 4:30 PM local time on the 21st of March

    The max today is at Momiyama Hokota City, Ibaraki. Everything else is below 300. The safety limit is 5 REM/year, or 5,700 nanoGrays/hour.

    Max in the Tokyo area is a 79. Average is in the 50s. These readings are nearly normal for the area.

    This story at the FNPP site is not quite over. Normalization is expected by October based on measurements as the site cools on down.

    Work will be needed to identify run-off areas where rain concentrates cesium radioisotopes. That concern has attracted attention in Japan, where a large force is on the ground carrying out follow-up tasks.

    The Japanese are nothing if not thorough.

    Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

    by vets74 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:52:00 PM PDT

  •  NNadir is right about cars (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, Odysseus

    The building of cars takes a huge amount of resources. Long-term use of cars is not sustainable, even if we use renewable or nuclear energy. We need to move to livable cities and communities that encourage walking, bicycles and public transportation so that cars become something people rent or own for special needs.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:09:35 PM PDT

  •  Uranium is NOT plentiful. (0+ / 0-)

    According to the NEA there is roughly a 200 year supply of uranium "at current usage levels".  If you calculate a 3% growth rate, and it would be much higher for what you are proposing, the Uranium runs out in about 50 years.

    We already see what's happening to the price of oil as we run out, why would we want to sink $Trillions into a technology that will only get much more expensive and we'll have to abandon in about 50 years?

    The sun will still shine for another several billion years.

    •  Current production is 50,000 tons a year. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Recall, Odysseus

      This is next to nothing for mineral extraction. That's not a big output for one coal mine.

      Prices will go up some in a couple of hundred years. But not that much. a dozen countries mine U3O8 now. Pitchblende, vanadium and other minerals contain U. There are whole mountains with lower grade ore -- some in the U.S.

      In the earth's crust uranium is about as prevalent as tin. It is not rare. Not at all, unless you need to find it at the surface, asking to be steam shoveled up like so much sand.

      Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 04:20:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Electric cars (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    do not require nuclear energy.

    The failure to nail currant jelly to a wall is not due to the nail; it is due to the currant jelly. Theodore Roosevelt

    by notrouble on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 04:22:11 PM PDT

    •  Reducing the import/export trade imbalance (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notrouble, Odysseus

      and reducing the cost of the electricity -- those are the main effects of going to nuclear power.

      Do the benefits justify the risks ?

      Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 04:26:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I believe they do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But I'm not sure it should be handled by private companies. I would prefer to be done by a public utility with an elected board. Private companies don't really have 100 year (or longer) plans.

        People might be surprised to if they knew how many nuclear reactors are around them. There are at some universities and used by the military quite successfully. One thing about nuclear energy -- you really cannot cover up an accident. Geiger counters and substances sensitive to radiation are readily publicly available. Our reactors generally have a good safety record.

        The failure to nail currant jelly to a wall is not due to the nail; it is due to the currant jelly. Theodore Roosevelt

        by notrouble on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 05:06:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No REC's. Nobody sees it at dkos. (0+ / 0-)

          Doesn't matter.

          Oil Biz rigs the price up to $4 a gallon, but here nobody sees the Mississippi sized outflow of money from the country.


          Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

          by vets74 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 05:16:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We see land being taken out of use. (0+ / 0-)

            Maybe not a lot for Chernobyl, maybe not a lot for Fukushima. But the earth is getting more crowded by the day and I don't think I want to expand a technology that has the potential for putting land off limits for generations, the accident frequency is a little too high for my comfort level. And I used to be an advocate for at least one Gen IV system, as you can see below.

            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

            by billmosby on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:52:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Solar pv or wind (0+ / 0-)

        We can do that better

        George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

        by nathguy on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:31:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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